Sam Wisnia is leaving Deutsche Bank
Sources say Wisnia resigned this morning. Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Wisnia is off to join Eisler Capital, the $2.6bn macro hedge fund set up by former Goldman Sachs partner turned philanthropist Edward Eisler in late 2015. Wisnia worked with Eisler at Goldman Sachs and the two men set up DMC Partners, an emerging markets fund, after leaving Goldman.
Wisnia joined DB from Goldman Sachs in 2014 . He was head of macro trading at DB and a member of the executive committee for the corporate and investment bank in Europe. Under his leadership, Deutsche built a large “strats” and risk pricing business along the lines of Goldman Sachs’ strats group. Wisnia was the former global co-head of strats at Goldman.
Wisnia’s exit leaves a big hole in Deutsche Bank’s sales and trading business, which had a challenging 2017. Deutsche CFO James von Moltke said last week that the investment bank is also having a difficult first quarter and DB is contemplating more “radical” action if necessary. Nonetheless, Deutsche has been hiring heavily from Goldman Sachs’ macro structuring team in recent months, with many of the hires thought to have been driven by Wisnia himself.
Wisnia, who graduated from France’s Ecole Polytechnique in 1998, has a reputation as a charismatic if prickly character who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. A skilled risk taker and brilliant quant, his exit might be perceived as the reassertion of Deutsche’s old guard. “A lot of the younger generation at Deutsche are going to really miss him,” says one headhunter, speaking off the record.
Wisnia has a reputation for treating those in his inner circle lavishly. In 2016 he flew members of his team to Washington on a private jet he rented himself. At the time, Deutsche was cutting costs and CEO John Cryan was making a point of flying commercial.
One former colleague described Wisnia as, “a brilliant and fascinating character but a bad manager”. “He sees everything in black and white and has no take on shades of grey. He told a senior person in a management meeting that he was a donkey, and then followed that with, ‘to call you a donkey is an insult to the donkey’”, he claims.
Others who know Wisnia say he’s “incredibly bright and talented, but also incredibly arrogant” and that “he’s popular on the desk because he gets things done but if you don’t get on with him, you’re out…”
One headhunter who knows Wisnia agrees: “He’s a doer, and if you’re a doer too you’ll get on,” he says. As Deutsche tries to reinvigorate its investment bank, Wisnia’s ability could be sorely missed.
Deutsche insiders say no reason was given for Wisnia’s departure. “People just received an email saying he’s going,” says one.
Eisler Capital has 45 employees in London and has achieved annualised returns of 7.25% since inception. Wisnia’s decision to quit banking for a macro hedge fund may encourage other risk takers at Deutsche to do the same.
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